BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
THE Private Enterprise Programme Zambia (PEPZ) in partnership with Good Nature Agro is supporting the development of out- grower schemes by linking small holder farmers to profitable off-taker markets.
PEPZ communications manager Sonia Naik said this would lead to increased job creation and income for farmers accessing new markets through the production of high-quality legume seed.
Ms Naik in an interview said PEPZ was also working with Consolidated Mining and Investments(CMI) to engage farmers directly relocated by mining operations and farmers in the surrounding regions in the lucrative value chains of beans and groundnuts with ready export markets. “We are also working with Mabiza Resources Limited (MRL) who has proposed to undertake a study to determinethe feasibility for solar irrigation provision to clusters of local farmers via a loan mechanism,” she said.
Ms Naik said the study would explore the possibility to provide agriculture inputs along with structured off-taker agreements and would include a cost analysis, financial structuring, crop/seed options and local and regional off-takers(including potential for pre-finance off-takers). She said the study would also explore long-term processing and value addition options which could be accessed once the first phase of the project is established.
“If the study successfully demonstrates that an economic project can be structured, it will allow farmers who are currently reliant on single crop rain-fed farming to undertake cash crop annual farming activities,” she said. Structured off-taker agreements, she said, would allow guaranteed sale, giving farmers the opportunity to invest in inputs.
“MRL has submitted a grant proposal to PEPZ requesting cost-share assistance to undertake the feasibility study and options analysis.
“Should the feasibility study and options analysis demonstrate a viable economic project then MRL would request for further assistance to roll out the project,” she said.